The most interesting thing in British politics today is the publication of the British Social attitudes survey. If you care about the social context in which all politics must operate, this is a must read. So go do.
However, I would not be a blogger if I did not put gratifying my ego ahead of informing the public.
So may I just point out to you the striking similarities between the Strategy that ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie has established (trans: been told) will form the basis of the coming Tory assault on the Labour party, and what I said last month that strategy would be and, even more usefully, how Labour should respond to it?
Montgomerie: “Target one is Labour’s borrowing plans. Using estimates from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, there’ll be a campaign reminiscent of the famous tax bombshell posters from 1992. It will be directed at Labour’s implicit plans to borrow £200 billion more.”
Sen: “If the Tories argue that Labour cannot be trusted with the economy, Labour must show how wrong that is. One of the lessons of François Hollande’s election campaign was that Nicolas Sarkozy’s attacks on the left as a risk to recovery foundered on Hollande’s plans to cut the deficit over the medium term, reduce waste and cut corporation tax and VAT. This pro-enterprise stance meant progressive policies could not be portrayed as a threat to recovery.
“Labour needs policies for growth – like an industrial bank, infrastructure and housing investment. Alongside this, Labour needs to show an enthusiasm for enterprise, for cutting waste and an ability to say ‘no’. Having entrepreneurs and business groups backing Labour’s policies would allow sceptical voters to believe that smart deficit reduction and growth can go together. Labour must not turn on its leaders, especially the shadow chancellor, when they show they are tough as well as kind.”
Montgomerie: “Target two will be Labour’s opposition to the coalition’s caps on benefits and immigration. Mr Osborne, in particular, sees these issues as possessing the potential to drive a wedge between Mr Miliband and Labour’s heartland, blue-collar voters.“
Sen: ” The Conservatives get good ratings from both groups (potential Tory voters) on issues like immigration, welfare and crime… …Tory considerers will be told that they cannot trust Labour on the economy, welfare, spending and crime
…Labour has to expose any Tory claim of cutting waste, welfare and big government as being on the side of ‘ordinary people’. We need to show that they are doing no such thing. So Labour needs to highlight how the Tories are making life harder by wastefully spending on the ‘costs of Tory failure’, and offer better, costed alternatives.”
Montgomerie: “Finally, there’ll be a focus on the Labour leader himself. I’m reassured that the negativity won’t be personal but it will focus on Mr Miliband’s opposition to all of the coalition’s big deficit-reducing measures. The latest polling suggests the Conservatives enjoy a four-to-one advantage when it comes to a sense that they, rather than Labour, will take tough decisions”
Sen: “the Tories need to define Ed Miliband and Ed Balls as a threat to those ‘battlers’ the Tories are trying to help… Cameron himself will try and stay on the high road, stressing his plans to give ‘hard workers’ a ‘fair chance’, and the importance of taking tough decisions… …Using Eric Pickles, Theresa May, or, best of all, Boris Johnson, to attack the Labour leadership would be smart. Cameron cannot be Flashman, so why not let Boris be Dennis the Menace?…
…Labour should use the next two years to promote Miliband as a practical, detail-oriented leader who has what it takes to put Britain on the right track, in comparison with the slapdash, make-it-up-as-you-go-along Cameron. To put it crudely, when the national operating system has a virus, you appreciate someone who looks like he fixes computers for fun. That puts a premium on policy detail, not overblown rhetoric.”
I am available for Consultancy work for an enormously high fee.
Call me, maybe?